HSBC Arena is one block from The Buffalo News Building at the foot of Main Street. As we approached the entrance of HSBC Arena we saw that union folks were picketing. It seems that The Buffalo News fired thirty plus pressmen who had fallen victim to the German efficiency of new presses.

How ironic! The Buffalo News and Warren had received a $40 million tax break to buy these new Bavarian presses. It seems that The Buffalo News was magically located in a New York State Empire Zone making them eligible for a major tax break on any capitalization expenditures. (Somebody at The News must be a socialist).

We walked to the entrance. I was excited about the possibility of asking Warren all about these ideas of corporate taxation, corporate death penality and community responiblity. I know Warren is happy about the $40 million profit he gets annually from The Buffalo News.

I wanted to ask him if he would think about investing some of that money in local businesses other than in “Control Board Bob” Wilmers’ M & T Bank. (Warren owns 27 percent of M & T Bank). I wanted to tell Warren to invest in the little guy, not like that Geico (another Warren owned enterprise) deal where again, a magical New York State Empire Zone appeared in Amherst with millions of dollars in tax breaks. This was all in the name of investing and creating jobs for the underprivileged people of Amherst. I told you Warren is a closet socialist!

The HSBC security had told the Union folks that they had to protest on the other side of the street. The sidewalk in front of the HSBC is apparently not public property, despite the fact that the HSBC Arena was built almost exclusively with public funds.

We marched up to the main entrance and we showed our press passes and were directed to the security entrance in the back. At the security entrance a young man, named Ben and a rather attractive security woman again asked for our press I.D. After a brief phone call, Ben escorted us into an elevator. I was excited with the thought of what I would ask Warren; was it true that he sold his interest in the Ambassador Bridge Company? What is it like owning Tastee Freeze? My wife Marie’s first job after graduating magu cum laude in women’s studies from UB was at Tastee Freeze for $1.75 hour in Tucson, Arizona. She cried the day she was fired for mixing up the vanilla and chocolate twists with plain vanilla. She still talks with bitterness about it.

I was lost in my thoughts. When the elevator door opened and we walked into the main corridor, we were escorted to the best seats in the HSBC Arena, the hundred level seats. Instead of the usual sight of the Sabres warming up in a pre-game skate, the main floor was a panorama of candle-lit tables filled food and liquor. This was the Wizard of Omaha’s Emerald City awaiting an army of munchkins ready to pay homage.

We took our seats, with thoughts of the coming spectacle that was before us. I thought of what it would be like to be a voyeur at Caligula’s birthday party and here we were, observing the world of the Buffalo’s privileged boyars paying honor to the owner of The Buffalo News, their voice.

Gabe X. started taking pictures. I noticed a security man with a dog going behind the podium. It was a bomb-sniffing dog. The rink began to fill with guests, Common Council member Richard Fontana, Common Councilpresident Dave (KKK) Franczyk, US Attorney Mike Battle, and, of course, Andy Rudnick.

And then he appeared, Warren Buffett. He was wearing a light gray suit, and a dark color tie. He was at the far edge of the rink. He walked humbly, smiling. I was thrilled! This was going to be my big chance for a major scoop, since we were the only members of the local press. No Artvoice, no Buffalo Spree magazine, no Night Life, No After Six - just Alt Press. It was a given we would get the interview. The man and the dog were getting closer and closer until the dog started sniffing me and Gabe X. For a minute I thought the security officer was going to ask us to leave. But he was friendly enough and so was his dog. They continued their task of sniffing for bombs into the upper decks of the arena. I thought to myself being in one hundred levels had given us credibility.

Warren walked closer into the center of the rink. Then I noticed a well-dressed man with a white beard staring angrily at us. In a minute, a big fat guy jumped over the boards from the rink, into the seats and asked us for our press passes and again we handed them to him. He looked confusingly at them and said ok.

A minute later, a woman in her forties with a bad blonde dye job, a standard business suit, and who from the looks of her had both hit the glass ceiling of careerism and the disillusionment of a longed faded beauty menacingly waved her finger toward us, calling us over to edge of the rink.

Smiling, I approached her and began to introduce myself. Before I could get a word out, she demanded to see our credentials and again we handed them over. At this point everyone in the rink was staring at us. I was hoping that Warren, the man of the people would come over to see what is was all about. Surely, he would not allow for the same sort of disdain and mistreatment of the press associated with the Bush Administration.

I pulled out my tape recorder. She said our pass credentials were not good and that this was a private party, invitation only, no press and we would have to leave. I began to interview her. She reacted with fear. She said her name was Dottie Gallagher and that she was a vice-president of the Buffalo News, before I could continue, the big fat guy tried to grab my recorder. A scuffle ensued as a gentle bossanova wafted over the P.A. I explained to the guy that it was inappropriate to touch me and that I was with the press. He responded that he was going to arrest me for trespassing. I explained that we were given permission to be there from three security persons and were leaving as per Dottie’s request.

Warren never came over. As I walked out of the one hundreds level seat area into the corridor I explained to the big idiot for his own good that he should not touch people. He continued to threaten me with arrest, a true child of homeland security at its dumbest. I thought of Warren and of what would never be.

We walked outside into the evening light. The pressmen and their supporters were still there. A union should never give up.

How ironic! The Buffalo News and Warren had received a $40 million tax break to buy these new Bavarian presses. It seems that The Buffalo News was magically located in a New York State Empire Zone making them eligible for a major tax break on any capitalization expenditures. (Somebody at The News must be a socialist).

We walked to the entrance. I was excited about the possibility of asking Warren all about these ideas of corporate taxation, corporate death penality and community responiblity. I know Warren is happy about the $40 million profit he gets annually from The Buffalo News.

I wanted to ask him if he would think about investing some of that money in local businesses other than in “Control Board Bob” Wilmers’ M & T Bank. (Warren owns 27 percent of M & T Bank). I wanted to tell Warren to invest in the little guy, not like that Geico (another Warren owned enterprise) deal where again, a magical New York State Empire Zone appeared in Amherst with millions of dollars in tax breaks. This was all in the name of investing and creating jobs for the underprivileged people of Amherst. I told you Warren is a closet socialist!

The HSBC security had told the Union folks that they had to protest on the other side of the street. The sidewalk in front of the HSBC is apparently not public property, despite the fact that the HSBC Arena was built almost exclusively with public funds.

We marched up to the main entrance and we showed our press passes and were directed to the security entrance in the back. At the security entrance a young man, named Ben and a rather attractive security woman again asked for our press I.D. After a brief phone call, Ben escorted us into an elevator. I was excited with the thought of what I would ask Warren; was it true that he sold his interest in the Ambassador Bridge Company? What is it like owning Tastee Freeze? My wife Marie’s first job after graduating magu cum laude in women’s studies from UB was at Tastee Freeze for $1.75 hour in Tucson, Arizona. She cried the day she was fired for mixing up the vanilla and chocolate twists with plain vanilla. She still talks with bitterness about it.

I was lost in my thoughts. When the elevator door opened and we walked into the main corridor, we were escorted to the best seats in the HSBC Arena, the hundred level seats. Instead of the usual sight of the Sabres warming up in a pre-game skate, the main floor was a panorama of candle-lit tables filled food and liquor. This was the Wizard of Omaha’s Emerald City awaiting an army of munchkins ready to pay homage.

We took our seats, with thoughts of the coming spectacle that was before us. I thought of what it would be like to be a voyeur at Caligula’s birthday party and here we were, observing the world of the Buffalo’s privileged boyars paying honor to the owner of The Buffalo News, their voice.

Gabe X. started taking pictures. I noticed a security man with a dog going behind the podium. It was a bomb-sniffing dog. The rink began to fill with guests, Common Council member Richard Fontana, Common Councilpresident Dave (KKK) Franczyk, US Attorney Mike Battle, and, of course, Andy Rudnick.

And then he appeared, Warren Buffett. He was wearing a light gray suit, and a dark color tie. He was at the far edge of the rink. He walked humbly, smiling. I was thrilled! This was going to be my big chance for a major scoop, since we were the only members of the local press. No Artvoice, no Buffalo Spree magazine, no Night Life, No After Six - just Alt Press. It was a given we would get the interview. The man and the dog were getting closer and closer until the dog started sniffing me and Gabe X. For a minute I thought the security officer was going to ask us to leave. But he was friendly enough and so was his dog. They continued their task of sniffing for bombs into the upper decks of the arena. I thought to myself being in one hundred levels had given us credibility.

Warren walked closer into the center of the rink. Then I noticed a well-dressed man with a white beard staring angrily at us. In a minute, a big fat guy jumped over the boards from the rink, into the seats and asked us for our press passes and again we handed them to him. He looked confusingly at them and said ok.

A minute later, a woman in her forties with a bad blonde dye job, a standard business suit, and who from the looks of her had both hit the glass ceiling of careerism and the disillusionment of a longed faded beauty menacingly waved her finger toward us, calling us over to edge of the rink.

Smiling, I approached her and began to introduce myself. Before I could get a word out, she demanded to see our credentials and again we handed them over. At this point everyone in the rink was staring at us. I was hoping that Warren, the man of the people would come over to see what is was all about. Surely, he would not allow for the same sort of disdain and mistreatment of the press associated with the Bush Administration.

I pulled out my tape recorder. She said our pass credentials were not good and that this was a private party, invitation only, no press and we would have to leave. I began to interview her. She reacted with fear. She said her name was Dottie Gallagher and that she was a vice-president of the Buffalo News, before I could continue, the big fat guy tried to grab my recorder. A scuffle ensued as a gentle bossanova wafted over the P.A. I explained to the guy that it was inappropriate to touch me and that I was with the press. He responded that he was going to arrest me for trespassing. I explained that we were given permission to be there from three security persons and were leaving as per Dottie’s request.

Warren never came over. As I walked out of the one hundreds level seat area into the corridor I explained to the big idiot for his own good that he should not touch people. He continued to threaten me with arrest, a true child of homeland security at its dumbest. I thought of Warren and of what would never be.

We walked outside into the evening light. The pressmen and their supporters were still there. A union should never give up.

By Joe Schmidbauer

Warren Buffett, the famed wizard of Omaha came to town and I eagerly looked forward to the big bash held in his honor at the HSBC Arena. I had always wanted to meet him. I thought we would have a lot to talk about. After all, we were in the same business of being make-believe newspapermen. I could picture Warren, a self-made billionaire (with a little help from Senator Daddy Warren), a liberal democratic, and a believer in corporation taxation (I suspect a closet socialist) and I, a self-failed businessman, liberal pinko-green and believer in the corporate death penalty (and a I suppose a closet capitalist) engaging in an animated discussion.

We walked down to the HSBC Arena. I was accompanied by the associate publisher of Alt Press, Gabriel X. who had come along as photographer. Warren was going to be attending a party at HSBC Arena. He was in town to celebrate the new format of The Buffalo News and the new state of the art printing presses from Germany. (Righteously painted in the Bavarian national colors, blue and white. I gathered to honor Bavaria’s continued domination in the printing press industry.)